Understanding How Social Media Affects Mental Health

From endless scrolling, live streaming, likes, comments, and views to the emergence of FOMO (Fear of missing out), social media has become an integral part of your daily life. 

But as we continue to examine the ever-expanding landscape of social media, you can find that it’s sometimes affecting your overall physical and mental health. 

Social media has the power to engulf your mind and soul and change your thoughts, views, and opinions. It has the power to make you sad, happy, stressed, anxious, excited, and even depressed. 

So, keep reading to learn how social media affects mental health and what balance you need to find!

The era of social media

Around the 2000s, a new era started, which changed the whole world. 

It was the emergence of social media. 

It started a new era of communication and interaction. Leaving behind all the primitive ways of communication, social media gave us the power to endlessly communicate and connect with people worldwide in seconds. 

Social media is not just about communication; it’s also a hub for influence from various people. Social media has also allowed people to flourish and expand their careers. 

But, as you know, every coin has two sides. 

So let’s flip to the other side. 

There are many downsides to this new era. False information, cyberbullying, fake standards, online harassment, hate, and negativity, are some of the most dangerous and dreadful effects of the negative use of social media. 

So let’s understand how social media can be negative and where to draw the line. 

The good, bad, and the ugly side of social media

Social media has become an essential part of the present society. It connects people and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. There is a varied impact of social media on mental health. At the same time, there are many disadvantages of social media too:

The Good: 

Social media provides a platform for creative expression, allowing individuals to showcase their talents and passions to a wider audience. When used in a positive and responsible manner, social media can be used as a powerful force for good, bringing people together and creating meaningful connections.

1. Increases connectivity: 

When it comes to connecting people, nothing can replace the era of social media. It helps you connect with your family, friends, and acquaintances around the world. It promotes a sense of support and helps build relationships. This is one of the good effects of social media on mental health.

2. Increases awareness:

Not everyone has the time to see the news every day. This is where social media helps people out. Just by scrolling through different social media platforms, you can stay up to date about all the events happening every day around the world.

3. Increases creativity:

Social media has given many creators and artists a platform to showcase their talents and share their works with a global audience. This motivates and increases creativity among people. This is another good effects of social media on mental health. 

The Bad:

While social media has its benefits, it can also negatively affect our mental, relationships, and overall well-being. One major issue is the constant exposure to curated and often unrealistic images and standards, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and even depression.

1. Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying on the platform of social media has become a serious issue and can severely affect its victims, causing mental health issues. The negative effects of social media on mental health include PTSD, traumaanger, and depression. 

2. Addiction:

Social media prolonged addiction is a serious issue that can disrupt daily life and lead to mental health issues. The negative effects of social media on mental health can lead to a decrease in productivity, laziness, poor sleep schedule, and poor eating habits. 

3. Misinformation

False information can circulate quickly on social media platforms and cause harm. False information can cause panic and stress among people. This also hurdles the circulation of true information. Sometimes this is used to spread hate and negativity.

4. Privacy

Social media can jeopardize users’ privacy and expose them to online crimes like identity theft and cyberstalking. There are instances where the platform assures privacy and data protection but still, the private information of the user leaks, causing them a lot of trouble.

5. Comparison

As users compare themselves to others on social media, the negative effects of social media on mental health can lead to feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and low self-esteem. Sometimes the fake standards and influence over social media can make you feel less of yourself. 

The Ugly:

The ugly side of social media refers to the darker aspects of online behavior that can have serious and lasting consequences. There are many psychological effects of social media on youth. This includes cyberbullying, harassment, hate speech, and the spread of misinformation.

1. Harassment

People can be harassed and intimidated through social media, especially women and underprivileged groups. This affects the mental health of the victims, severely affecting them and their life. 

2. Hatred:

Since social media is such an influential platform, it can change people’s views. Sometimes it is used to spread hatred and negativity toward a community or a group of people. The negative effects of social media on mental health can lead to feelings of loneliness. 

Negative effects of social media on mental health: 

social media affects mental health

There are several psychological effects of social media on youth. One major issue is the constant exposure to images and information that can trigger feelings of anxietystress, and depression.

Here are the negative effects of social media on mental health:

1. Increases self-doubt

There are many possibilities on social media to compare yourself to others. This is how social media affects mental health. You could become envious of the lives of those in your social circle while scrolling.

Looking at fancy getaways, Clean, comfortable homes, close-knit, happy, well-dressed families, and seemingly perfect bodies creates a sense of fake standards that you try to achieve, and if you fail, it causes feelings of self-hate and low self-esteem.

2. Disrupts sleep cycle

You can find yourself scrolling day and night through your social media with the potential fear of missing out and thus social media affects mental health. 

This can get so addictive that you might not even sleep at night and keep yourself engaged in posts, views, and people over the internet. This can lead to insomnia, causing various other mental health issues.

3. Contributes to anxiety and depression

Social media has numerous advantages, but some users have also reported experiencing higher anxiety and sadness due to using it.

The continual exposure to other people’s seemingly flawless lives and accomplishments, which can make people feel insufficient and unconfident about their own lives, may be one factor in this. Social media also tends to foster a culture of comparison, where people continuously contrast their circumstances with those of others. This is how social media affects mental health.

4. Decrease engagement in fulfilling activities 

Overusing social media prevents you from engaging in activities that could improve your mental health. You might find that your entire day slipped away with you looking at the screens of your phones or laptops.

This can decrease your engagement in conversation with your friends and family, practicing self-care activities, doing things that make you happy, and just spending time outdoors in nature. 

Finding the balance 

It’s crucial to balance social media use and mental health to connect positively with technology. Despite some potential drawbacks, social media may be a useful tool for connection, inspiration, and even assistance.

Using social media while being mindful is one way to strike a balance. This entails being conscious of one’s feelings, ideas, and actions while using social media. Developing a healthier relationship with social media can be beneficial by taking pauses, putting usage restrictions in place, and being aware of how it affects mood and well-being.

Another tactic is to foster a welcoming online community. This may entail ignoring accounts that spread negativity or unattainable ideals while following those who motivate and inspire. Building a supportive online network and actively engaging with uplifting content can promote a sense of community and lessen loneliness.

Prioritizing in-person interactions and activities is also crucial. Social media shouldn’t take the place of in-person conversations and experiences. A balanced and meaningful existence can be achieved by scheduling time for hobbies, physical activity, and time with loved ones.


Finding the right balance between social media and mental health needs individual effort, self-awareness, and self-care. People can have a positive relationship with technology by fostering positivism, utilizing social media in moderation, and prioritizing in-person interactions. Understanding how social media affects mental health is very important. 

Nowadays, the use of social media and internet platforms has also taken a positive approach in the field of mental health and issues. There is an emergence of many Instagram therapists who can help you in your mental health journey. To know more, click here. 

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